It addresses the BJP’s common refrain: “The Congress did nothing during their six decades of rule.”
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, speaking in Hindi at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, delivered answers, perhaps unwittingly, to the common question from Modi worshippers: “What has the Congress done for the country during the six decades of their rule?”
- “We set up IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and ISRO. What did Pakistan make? They set up LeT, JeM, Haqqani Network, Hizbul Mujahiddeen, terrorist camps.”
- “We gave birth to doctors and scientists, Pakistan gave birth to jihadis and terrorists.”
- “India and Pak got Independence together. While India is today known as a hi-tech superpower, Pak is known as a terrorist state.”
- “Why is it that today India is a recognised IT superpower in the world, and Pakistan is only the preeminent export factory for terror?”
- Every government has done its bit for India’s development. We have marched ahead, consistently, without pause, in Education, Health and across the range of human welfare.
- “We are fighting poverty, but Pakistan is fighting against us.”
Even the Congress will not have been so effective in addressing the collective refrain of the BJP and its fans.
Well done, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, the Congress leaders can henceforth use your speech as an answer to the clichéd, derisory question of your party leaders and underlings.
Contributions of Nehru, Indira: Most of the institutions and successes she referred to were launched by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi (Gharibi Hatao – abolish poverty —, for instance, was not a mere slogan).
BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been doing all he can to erase the contributions of Nehru and Indira Gandhi from public memory. During his visit to Singapore two years he made no mention of Nehru, including at a meeting he addressed for Indians in the country – I got to attend it.
But Singapore remembered Nehru, fittingly enough, and The Straits Times even carried a report on him. I blogged about it then – Singapore Remembers Nehru, not Modi.
Mr Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, notes: “Nehru united the country with his vision, charisma and eloquence.”
Bullet Train: Even during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to India, he remembered Nehru and the enduring friendship between the two countries.
Mr Abe’s visit was to launch the bullet train project in India, where in 2015 alone more than 33,000 people had been killed in rail-related accidents.
The high-speed train project, incidentally, was conceived during the prime ministership of Dr Manmohan Singh.
The unfolding of GST that Mrs Swaraj talked about at the UN yesterday was also an initiative of the previous government. The only brainwave of the Modi government during the last more than three years has been demonetisation which has landed the country in economic dumps.
G Joslin Vethakumar